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Ife locals invade OAU with ‘charms’ amid discord over VC’s appointment

Some indigenes of Ile Ife, Osun state have invaded the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) amid the discord over the appointment of a new vice-chancellor (VC) of the institution.

Abiodun Olanrewaju, the varsity’s PRO, confirmed the development to TheCable Lifestyle in a statement on Monday.

He said the locals invaded the OAU campus with charms and other fetish objects.

On March 17, the university governing council, led by its chairman Owelle Oscar Udoji, had announced Adebayo Simeon Bamire, a professor of Agricultural Economics, as the 12th substantive VC of the varsity.

But locals in the varsity’s host community who favoured the installation of an Ife indigene had started a protest.

Olanrewaju said the locals shut OAU’s two major gates on Monday morning, thereby preventing staff, students, and other stakeholders from either coming into or leaving the university.

“The protesters, who initially blocked the main gate of the University on the first day, threatened staff and students to stay away from campus,” the PRO said.

“[They] became very violent the second day as they beat up workers, particularly the staff of the security unit, and vandalized their office at the main gate.

“Some of the security staff had to be taken to the University’s Health Centre for treatment.

Today, Monday, 21st March 2022, things took more dangerous dimensions as the indigenes beat up some OAU students who they met at the gate, blocked the two major gates as early as 6:00 am.

“[They came] into the campus with charms, and other fetish items. They assembled at the motion ground of the secretariat, dressed in all-white spiritual traditional attire, chanting incantations while performing rituals.”

On the VC’s appointment, Olanrewaju said the joint council and senate selection board shortlisted 16 candidates.

He said the candidates were called in for interaction and each was scored by each member of the selection board.

The PRO said the score sheets of each assessor for individual candidates were dropped into an envelope and sealed.

“At the end of the interaction, the sealed envelopes were opened one after the other and announced to all the members. The score sheets were thereafter passed around for sighting,” he added.

“Then, the scores of the candidates were collated with Microsoft Excel and ranked from the highest to the lowest. The candidate with the highest score was eventually announced as the VC by the governing council.

No member of the board had foreknowledge of each candidate’s score before the final collation.

“The university hereby affirms that due processes were followed and merit was the basis for the appointment of the new VC. The university Management implores the leadership of Ile- Ife to please call these protesters to order.”

The tension in OAU comes after Eyitope Ogunbodede, the former VC, was said to have been attacked over the varsity’s land-grabbing dispute with its host community.

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